Voting at the ballot box (illustration)
Voting at the ballot box (illustration) Uri Lenz/Flash 90

In an interview Wednesday, Israeli television broadcast pioneer Uzi Peled advocated for an “investigation” into the results of the elections – because they did not match the television projections broadcast Tuesday night.

Israeli election law prohibits the broadcast of any information about how the vote might be going while the polls are open, but once they close at 10 PM on election day, any prediction is fair game. In order to satisfy the curiosity of viewers, Israel's television stations – Channels 1, 2, and 10 – all take exit polls at selected polling places in Israel.

On Tuesday, the exit polls for all three stations said that Likud and Zionist Union/Labor were virtually tied in the number of seats each could expect in the 20th Knesset, but by Wednesday morning, with the actual counting of the votes, the situation changed, and it became clear that Likud had pulled far ahead of its rival.

Peled, who helped establish Channel 1 in the mid-1960s, and later went on to manage Channel Two's Tel-ad Network, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that he was disturbed by the turn of events. “I have to say that I do not understand what happened Tuesday night,” he said. “How could it be that there were three exit polls from three different sources all showing the same results?

“It seems to me that the pollsters worked together to produce a specific result, for whatever reason,” Peled said. “Otherwise how could you have such similar results, and yet the results Wednesday were so different? I would thus suggest that the government's anti-trust organization investigate the three polling organizations responsible for these three exit polls, to determine if they colluded to produce the same results, which would be illegal.

“But if it turns out that the pollsters did their work properly, we must ask what happened the next morning, when the results were so different? I would go to the head of the Central Elections Committee and ask him to investigate what happened between 10 PM Tuesday and Wednesday morning. I am not G-d forbid accusing anyone of anything, but based on my professional opinion, these two items just don't match up,” he added.